The Coney Island Boardwalk has been delighting children of all ages since 1923.
In its heyday, the Boardwalk was a wonderland of penny arcades, fortune tellers, hot dogs and roller coasters.
It was the place to spend a summer’s day: to swim, relax, flirt, play and be seen.
the Coney Island Boardwalk Today
Located in Brooklyn, New York, the 2.51 mile long Boardwalk flanks the Atlantic Ocean.
While the shine may have faded, Coney Island remains a wonderful place to spend a summer day.
Arcade addicts can still rack up tickets and exchange them for little plastic toys.
Baseball fans can catch a Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Aquatic animal enthusiasts can visit the aquarium.
And thrill seekers can choose between the historic Cyclone or the Boardwalk’s newest roller coaster: the 125-foot tall Thunderbolt.
My mom grew up a few blocks away
The Coney Island Boardwalk has a special place in my family’s heart.
My mother, Bonnie, spent her summers splashing in the ocean and playing in the amusement park. Naturally, this meant that I grew up hearing all her wonderful memories.
I even got to visit the Boardwalk a few times as a kid. However, it wasn’t the safest place in the 1980s; so, I prefer to focus on her childhood memories instead of mine. :)
Memories of Coney Island in the 1950s
I asked my mom to share some of her favorite Boardwalk memories with you… and this is what she wrote.
. . .
THE PENNY ARCADE
“If I have to decide which part of my childhood Coney Island experience stands out the most it was the Penny Arcade as it was called then. When I was growing up every Penny Arcade anywhere had Skee Ball and the Penny Arcade in Coney Island was no exception.
I was passionate about the game and had my own method of getting more points; which I won’t reveal here. (Maybe if you twist my arm.) Then if you won enough points there were the prizes; which at the time seemed to be quite wondrous.
. . .
THE FORTUNE TELLER
The fortune telling lady in her glass booth bobbed around when you put in your coin and when she stopped shaking her head and laughing a card came out with your “own special fortune.” She was a wonder to the eyes.
. . .
THE WONDER WHEEL
The Wonder Wheel which is one of the last remnants of the Coney Island that I knew swung back and forth as you sat in the car high above.
There was a ride below that had a pool of water and I was sure that the swinging car would swing so violently that it would break off from the Wonder Wheel and crash into the water and I would of course die a watery death.
. . .
I remember Nathan’s in the winter and the little room around the side that was their version of a dining room. The french fries then were super special. A recent trip to Nathan’s when I, of course, had to have the French fries, did not match my gustatory memory.
. . .
Steeplechase was world famous and I got to be a part of that history. It was a sad day for the world when it finally closed. There were some pretty special rides and attractions in the park; one of which was this unbelievably long wooden slide which when you ventured to go down on it inevitably gave you wood burn on your elbows.
Lots of photos and videos tell you about Steeplechase, but I thought I would throw in the personal elbow tidbit.”
. . .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – AKA, MOM
Bonnie Worthman Goodman is both the world’s best mom AND an amazing artist. The tall color etching above is her work.
Coney Island – on instagram
During a recent visit to the Coney Island Boardwalk, I posted a bunch of camera phone photos to instagram. These are a few highlights.
Where is your favorite boardwalk in the world?